Do you hate abortion? Me too. Every form of the procedure sickens me, and has since the first one I ever heard about, when I was 10 years old.
My mother had come home early, distraught and bathed in tears, from her job as a teacher in a special high school for pregnant teenagers. Her school had let out early, following the news that a 15-year-old student had just died in the hospital from sepsis, a few hours after delivering a second-trimester, stillborn fetus she had impaled the night before with a knitting needle. It was 1972, a year before Roe vs. Wade.
No, it was not appropriate to explain abortion to a 10-year-old. And perhaps it was my overexposure as a child to the nasty realities of the world that continues to inspire my utter impatience with the nonsense running out of some peoples’ mouths, in particular moralizing politicians who are probably cheating on their wives, but that’s another story. The starkness and radicalization of my upbringing gave me a hair-trigger for spotting and calling out hypocrisy and collective self-delusion – especially when both are so obvious, no one else in the room seems to see them.
To wit: those who claim to be “pro-life,” whatever the hell that means, should get real about how the real world works. The “pro-lifers” in Congress leading the charge to dismantle Planned Parenthood should try listening to their own rhetoric about the inexorable power of market forces. Demand will always seek and find supply; and as demand for abortions will never go away on its own, neither will those who “supply” them, be they overseas physicians for the wealthy, discreet, chart-buffing physicians for the middle class, back-alley butchers for the poor, or desperate, do-it-yourself teenagers. Anyone who thinks I am kidding – and who has not had the benefit of an OB/GYN rotation in a public hospital and/or a politically furious mother with poor boundaries – should read or watch the blistering Revolutionary Road through to its bloody end.
The ugliness of abortion is one of the ugly facts of life, and it always has been. We just happen to talk about it now, the same way we talk about other previously taboo medical subjects like cancer, depression and erectile dysfunction. Perhaps I was hit on the head with too many economics textbooks, or maybe it is my inability to join in the decades-old group-pretend about the colossal waste of lives and money that is “the war on drugs,” but the rock-bottom fact of this ugly problem is simple: making abortion illegal and/or unfinanceable for poor girls and women will not make it go away; it will make it go underground, later-stage, bloodier, and far more horrifically violent to the very fetuses the “pro-life” people claim they want to protect.
So let’s start with a little bit of common sense, drowned out completely in the latest screaming match over abortion: the best way, paradoxically, to increase the already appalling number of elective abortions in America is to financially disable Planned Parenthood, as many in Congress have been hellbent on doing this week. Planned Parenthood is not “Planned Abortionhood,” as the demagogues would have us believe. It is a safety net provider of health screening, sex education, and birth control for three million American women every year, most of whom live in economic gray zones between Medicaid and good insurance and thus have nowhere else to go for pap smears and free condoms.
If the crusaders for the “unborn” actually wanted to eliminate abortions, they would be doing everything in their power to expand Planned Parenthood’s funding and full range of services. They would seek to fund this and every other avenue for the provision of basic health services for vulnerable girls and women. They would, of course, also hold their noses and support the health care reform bill – any health care reform bill – that increases access to basic health care services for poor women. They would work to create massive new systems to enable the adoption of unwanted babies of girls and women who choose not to abort. And they would be doing everything in their fiscal power to increase sex education in our schools.
Give girls and women access to all of that, and then you can run your mouth about what they should do with their bodies. By contrast, if you are against providing girls and women with access to services that will reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies in this country, then you are either naïve, or stupid, or a shameless hypocrite who obviously cares more about punishing girls and women for their sexuality than you do about preventing abortion, and you should shut up for a minute and take a hard and honest look at your own attitudes about sex.
Now That I Have Your Attention
Among the tactics of the “pro-life” zealots who masquerade as “pregnancy counselors” and entrap terrified girls and women struggling with unwanted pregnancies is this brutal condemnation: “if you abort your baby, you will regret it for the rest of the life.” While this is tantamount to emotional terrorism, it also happens to be – for some unknown number of women who do terminate a pregnancy – sadly and painfully true. And while it would be a coup de grace if these same zealots and their clinic-bombing militia wing diverted their considerable free time and energy from the harassment of girls and women to the adoption of their unwanted children, the burden of course would be too great for them alone.
Luckily, there is a more scalable solution to the nation’s abortion conundrum, lurking not that far from the picket line in front of the women’s health clinic. In many cities, it is actually housed in a different wing in the very same clinic, the one where otherwise infertile women spend tens of thousands of dollars a year flooding their bodies with hormones and technology, in the hope that they might establish and carry to term a pregnancy their body obviously does not really want. In wildly disproportionate numbers, of course, these pregnancies do not go to term; many fetuses conceived through in vitro fertilization and intrauterine insemination come in twos, threes and fours, are born prematurely, and end up in the NICU, costing all of us hundreds of thousands of dollars more.
Welcome to the wild, wacky US health care system! OB/GYN residents get a special case of whiplash as they cross over, usually on one magical summer day, from residency into private practice, and they confront a near inversion of the world where they trained to the world they were training for: many of the poor, uninsured women they see in residency women’s health clinic struggle to deal with unplanned pregnancies; many of the well-off, well-insured women they see in private practice struggle to get pregnant.
And so – just sayin’ here – how difficult would it be to solve one problem in part by solving the other? Large numbers of girls and women do not want children but also do not want to abort, while just around the medical complex’s corner, large numbers of parents will spend small fortunes and endure miserable, protracted interventions trying to have children. I understand that a major part of parenting involves the primacy of one’s own progeny; but everyone I know who has run the fertility technology gauntlet to no end, only to relent and adopt children, has all said – to a couple – “Why did we go through all that? Why didn’t we just do this in the first place?” And indeed, they appear to love their children every bit as much as parents with their own progeny. How hard would it be to connect one set of desperate people with another?
Apparently, harder than it sounds. Around the country, there are a small number of poorly funded and barely promoted programs that match unwanted pregnancies with eager adoptive parents. But these programs, usually the only recourse for male couples and the last resort for other couples who have failed with fertility technology and want native kids, are highly marginalized. Might this have something to do with – surprise! – markets and money? With the fact that overseas adoption is a huge cash business? With the fact that the “fertility business,” and the high-risk pregnancies and complicated deliveries they tend to yield, generate billions per year in cash income for fertility specialists and third-party payer revenue for hospitals?
If the fulminators in Congress who claim to hate abortion wanted to do something useful about the problem, this would be the place to start. Social workers and normal deliveries are far cheaper than fertility specialists and NICU time; everybody wins, right? Well, everybody except the doctors and hospitals, of course, which have been known, on occasion, to lobby Congress. But really: is this rocket science? Or is it simply another thing that is so obvious, no one has thought of it?
Or Maybe You Just Hate Hester Prynne More than You Hate Abortion
Meanwhile, back at our regularly scheduled screaming match.
As mentioned at the outset, since the age of 10 I have experienced and understood the visceral hatred of abortion shared by many Americans. And I commiserate fully with all who oppose everything about abortion (if not who oppose abortion rights) because of a spontaneous, heartfelt love of babies that is our humanity at its most tender. I too have held the miracle of a newborn in my weathered old hands, imagining with every nerve in my fingertips that I could feel its soft, warm, pink head growing right there, the cells dividing riotously, a precious new life emerging. And yes, this most blessed of all sensations makes the idea of anyone venturing into a pregnant women with their own hands and aborting a fetus at any stage absolutely repugnant to me.
But it is this very repugnance that should inspire us to do the exact opposite of what those who claim to be “pro-life” are trying to do right now. We should be doing everything in our power to stop unwanted pregnancies from ever occurring in the first place – and blocking girls’ and womens’ access to health care services at places like Planned Parenthood is exactly not how to accomplish this goal.
So let’s put a fine point on it: anyone who claims to hate abortion but does not support expanded funding of sex education, birth control, and women’s access to basic health care is a hypocrite. They are lying to themselves, imposing their own neuroses about sex on the rest of us, and actually helping to make the problem worse. They are miserable Puritan scolds who, unconsciously, obviously care more about punishing girls and women for their sexuality than “protecting the unborn.” They are stuck in the 17th century, with the cruel and mindless mob in The Scarlet Letter, one of the quintessentially American novels for woefully good reason. Worst of all, they are inadvertently helping stimulate demand for abortion.
It is safe to say that all reasonable Americans yearn for the elimination of elective abortion in America. Some of us are grown up about the realities of the problem. We understand that girls and women have sex, many while under-age and out of wedlock, whether or not that happens to meet with our moral approval. We also understand that the best way to prevent abortion is by increasing rather than shutting down their access to birth control, education and health care benefits. Others by contrast would rather vilify, chastise and control women. They would rather force the government not just into their bedrooms, but all the way into their uteruses. How odd that, on a different day in Congress, some of these very same people might actually mouth a homily or two about the virtues of market forces, individual liberty, and limited government. They should be forced to wear a scarlet “H” – for hypocrisy – on all their clothing.
The rest of us who are willing and able to connect the dots between the heinousness of abortion, the realities of human behavior, and how markets actually do work recognize one overriding fact about abortions: they did not start with Roe vs. Wade, they will not stop with its overthrow by the mob, and they will not stop with the dismantling of Planned Parenthood. Abortion has been around for centuries, since the discovery of high-saline baths and “special teas” that induced uterine contractions. Also around for centuries has been the realization that markets work, and that restricting supply in the face of fixed or increasing demand always results in black markets, the criminalization of desperate citizens, and often immense dislocations and suffering.
The best way to drastically reduce the number of abortions in America is simple: ruthless honesty about its causes and our own political compulsions; massive mobilization of systems to increase adoption; and doing everything in our power to increase girls’ and womens’ access to health care services, like Planned Parenthood, to prevent unwanted pregnancy.
J.D. Kleinke is a medical economist, author, and health information industry pioneer. His work has appeared in the Wall Street Journal, JAMA, Barron’s, the British Medical Journal, Modern Healthcare, and numerous other publications. His books include “Bleeding Edge: The Business of Health Care in the New Century” (1998), “Oxymorons: The Myth of a U.S. Health Care System” (2001), and “Catching Babies” (2011), a novel about the training of OB/GYNs that will be published in March.
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Abortion is “a crime against humanity” while the invasion of Iraq was a “defensive” war, vasectomy “causes auto-immune disease,” and everyone should have perfect pregnancies like me. Wow. Michele Bachmann for President!
I’m with Shelley and have had quite enough of this discussion as well.
But I will finish where I began this post: abortion is awful, but black market abortions are worse…for women, fetuses, and the public health.
Keep abortion safe and legal.
I think it’s time for this thread to be closed for further comments. It happens all the time at other blogs.
JD, wake up and smell the coffee! LEGAL abortions are killing women. Making it legal makes it LESS safe. That’s because abortionists are no longer afraid of being caught, so they have grown careless. Health departments are shutting down LEGAL abortion mills everywhere because they don’t meet the most basic health standards. They are filthy. Abortionists do not sterilize their instruments properly, if at all, and re-use disposable instruments. They let non-medical personnel prescribe drugs. I attended a hearing of the medical board where they considered disciplining an abortionist for doing that. They just slapped him on the wrist and let him go. Abortionists abandon women in medical distress. They butcher women right and left.
“Keep abortion safe and legal” is an oxymoron. Go educate yourself.
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Thank you for a very, very good article. The only area where I think you are off — I think the idea that if we only encourage poor women who want abortions to just give up the baby, so that rich women who have fertility problems can “just adopt,” is a gross oversimplification — not that there aren’t thousands of waiting parents who would be thrilled to adopt, but it is harder than hell to give up a child — and going through an unwanted pregnancy is no cakewalk, especially for women whose lives are unstable in any number of ways (socially, financially, drug or alcohol dependence, spousal abuse or whatever). That doesn’t mean that we can’t make that option more readily available. But I don’t see it making a huge dent no matter what kind of support we provide.
Shelley, sure, it is agonizing to give up a child for adoption, but it is MORE agonizing to realize you killed your own child, and now it’s too late to do anything about it. Pregnancy is a NATURAL CONDITION. We women are made for it. If being pregnant is “no cakewalk”, it’s because of circumstances that really have nothing to do with the pregnancy itself. We need to encourage responsible behavior: no drugs, ever, no sex when you’re not prepared to have a child, etc. We can do plenty to make adoption a more attractive option, but the ready availability of abortion has meant there isn’t much effort being expended to do so. Open adoption allows a woman to know how her child is doing, perhaps even spend time with him or her. The whole point is, though, you are suggesting that *I* should be forced, at gunpoint, to pay for some other woman to have her body invaded, her reputation and self-esteem tarnished. Let’s teach women honor and self respect, and that will take care of the matter. Sure, there will always be those who slip anyway. But we can minimize that number and get the problem down to a size where we can deal with it more easily. It’s not just the poor who deserve their honor and their bodily integrity. All women deserve that. And the idea that the most helpful thing we can do for poor women is help them kill their children, frankly, stinks.
Wait, where did I say that the most helpful thing we can do for poor women is to help them kill their children?
Pregnancy is a natural condition but it is still no cakewalk. I agree that we should make it easier for women to adopt if they are so inclined (as I stated in my response), but the idea that women whose lives are very unstable will suddenly be able to pull it together in the face of an unwanted pregnancy is naive.
Your assert “we can do plenty to make adoption a more attractive option, but the ready availability of abortion has meant there isn’t much effort being expended to do so.” Oh, give me a break. From where I sit it’s because it’s a heckuva lot easier to protest abortion than it is to actually do something about the number of unwanted pregnancies. (And those, like you, who would defund Planned Parenthood — about which you are clearly a misinformed zealot — have no reasonable alternative, which pretty much proves my point). And a lot of these people are against sex ed and now even CONTRACEPTION has become a political topic.
Finally, do us all a favor and stop crying about your tax dollars. My tax dollars support a lot of things I don’t personally support, such as the war in Iraq. That’s part of living in a democratic society.
Shelley, you didn’t say the most helpful thing we can do for poor women is to help them kill their children. Margaret Sanger did. She founded Planned Parenthood.
Pregnancy CAN be a cakewalk. I had six pregnancies, and five of them were cakewalks. During my second pregnancy, I swam a mile twice a week. I played judo until four days before I gave birth. That last day, I was horsing around with my sister, who didn’t study judo, and she kicked me in the thigh and made a nasty bruise. It was fun when the nurse in the delivery room asked me where I got the bruise, and I watched her face as I told her, “Playing judo!” 🙂 My last labor was pretty rough, yet I was able to go outside right after I had given birth, and milk my goats. How do you make pregnancy a cakewalk? Eat right, take care of yourself, all your life. Some pregnancies will have problems, but most won’t. There is even an effective remedy for morning sickness: ginger tea or ginger ale (with real sugar). And if we would stop forcing women to THINK about choosing to kill their babies, their pregnancies would go a lot better, too. A woman has a right to experience the JOY of pregnancy, and millions of women are being robbed of that, and of their own child.
You seem to be uninformed. There are over 4000 organizations in the United States that offer significant help to pregnant women. They are staffed by volunteers, they have connections to good doctors who will help for free or very little cost, they can help with financial problems and counseling, with baby supplies, with adoption, and many other things. So don’t tell me that we need to do something about the number of unwanted pregnancies. We ARE. But people who want to save abortion and make money off women’s bodies are keeping that information from the public. That includes the lamestream media.
It’s not contraception that is the issue. It’s abortifacients, and our right to practice our religion unhindered. I don’t have a duty to help women kill their own children. Not with my money. Your views on Iraq are a separate issue. Iraq is a defensive war. It is legitimate to defend the nation. Being forced to kill unborn babies is NOT a part of living in a democratic society. It is an outrage! Abortion is a crime against humanity, and I am being compelled to participate. It’s either help pay to kill innocent children, or go to jail. Some choice for a democracy, don’t you think?
Pat, I’m so happy you had great, wanted pregnancies surrounded by supportive people. That’s generally not the reality of someone facing an unwanted pregnancy. And I’m genuinely glad your pregnancies were good for you physically. But before you congratulate yourself too much on that count, please understand — I eat right and take care of myself too but was not nearly as fortunate in my pregnancy, although I won’t bore you with the details.
And you’re right — there are a lot of organizations who want to help pregnant women who might want to carry to term — and I applaud their efforts, I genuinely do. But I am and will always be for a woman’s right to choose. (By the way — when I say “we need to do something about the number of unwanted pregnancies,” what I mean is, enable women to avoid becoming pregnant, not take care of them so that they can provide a healthy infant for some deserving family to adopt. Just so we’re clear.)
I am not here to debate Iraq with you, but believe me when I say I am as against that as you are against abortion. And that view is as legitimate as yours.
And I am very done with this conversation and will not respond further. I think we’ve both made ourselves clear enough.
Hey, Shelley, it’s OK not to continue the conversation. If you really mean it when you say you want to protect a woman’s right to choose, you need to do something about the 63% of women who say they were coerced into abortions they didn’t want. Even women who think they want an abortion can suffer terribly afterwards. One woman who was absolutely certain later became suicidal. I sat up with her all night, exchanging messages over the internet so she wouldn’t do it. I tried to call the suicide hotline in her city, 3000 miles away, and they left me on hold (without having spoken to anyone) for 20 minutes, so I gave up. The woman who had promised to help was out of town, and I didn’t know it. I was never so scared in all my life!
I don’t think we can decide whose view is more legitimate.
It’s real simple. If we teach women enough self respect so they don’t let men use them for pleasure and then discard them, there will be a lot fewer unwanted pregnancies. I don’t understand why this is so hard for people to grasp. They think I have NO right to choose not to be involved in their decisions by paying for what they decide to do, at the point of a government gun.
Shorter Pat — If everybody will agree with me all these hateful problems will vanish.
I agree that Planned Parenthood is good resource for those seeking preventative care such as birth control, health screenings which include pap smears, free condoms, and proper sex education. All of these things, if appropriate access is available, can help decrease the number of unwanted pregnancies and therefore decrease the number of abortions. The fact that Planned Parenthood touches base with the majority of taboos doesn’t sit too well with these politicians, but they have to remember that everyone should be entitled to the same healthcare rights and preventative care options.
You are correct in that if these politicians wanted to end abortion altogether they should go the opposite route by not only increasing funding to Planned Parenthood but to also increase sex education in schools and focus on the wellness of this vulnerable population. Your recommendation of them facilitating the adoption process for those with unwanted pregnancies who chose not to abort makes sense, but of course, that wasn’t included anywhere in their proposal. By supporting health care reform bills that increase access to basic health care services to this vulnerable population, politicians can put their money where their mouth is.
As a nurse, educating our patients regarding preventative care and managing illnesses is our duty. We took an oath upon graduation that we would “do no harm” and take care of our patients to the best of our ability. In order to do this, however, we must also advocate for our patient’s rights in the realm of health care reform bills put into legislation. Our medical expertise can pose a positive impact by providing the information that may be overlooked by politicians who may not have any medical background.
Edilyn, as a nurse, your duty is to BOTH your patients, and your oath requires you “do no harm” to EITHER of your patients. When you have a pregnant woman, you have TWO PATIENTS. The mere fact you can’t see the other one means harming that one is all the more despicable.
Look into what Planned Parenthood really does. It sells abortions to women who don’t want them, aids and abets sex trafficking of minors, lies about fetal development, refuses to report child molestation and statutory rape, and in every way does its darndest to make sure nothing stands in the way of another abortion sale, not even the well being of the women and girls who come to them. The fact PP sometimes (not always) offers other services doesn’t redeem the horrible damage they do to women in general. And it doesn’t redeem the fact that they go around in the schools using known propaganda techniques to encourage sexual activity among people who are neither mature enough to handle the ramifications, nor well enough off financially to care for a child. ABORTION IS NOT HEALTH CARE, whether through pills or surgery, so claiming it’s basic health care services is simply a fabrication.
Women deserve better than abortion, and they deserve better than being used as a sexual plaything to be discarded when they fully express OUR sexuality. Part of our sexuality IS the experience of carrying a child, giving birth, and breastfeeding. We deserve our bodily integrity and our honor. And guess what! If we are allowed to keep our honor and our bodily integrity, we won’t even “NEED” birth control services. It’s free!
If you are against abortion, do not have one. If you are a nurse who is against abortion, do not assist with one. The law protects your rights on both counts – and a whole lot more effectively than it protects women forced to face this horrifying choice.
And if you are a male nurse who is against abortion, then get a vasectomy, as it is the single most effective birth control method after abstinence. Most abortions are the result of female birth control failures, not the result of girls and women who use it as birth control method because they are stupid and lazy, no matter what the hateful, repressed, Neo-Victorians like Bachman and Santorum think.
In the meanwhile, stop repeating the moronic, uninformed, propagandist nonsense against Planned Parenthood. As a first-line provider of health care services for women and girls – staffed by embattled health care providers every bit as committed to their patients’ health as you claim to be – Planned Parenthood has in effect PREVENTED more unwanted pregnancies and thus PREVENTED more abortions than any other organization in the history of this country.
Hey, it’s not quite that simple. About 63% of women who had abortions reported being coerced. You’re right; the law doesn’t protect them. And no, the law does not protect a nurse’s right not to assist with one. It also doesn’t protect my right to go to ethical doctors only. The law forces doctors to participate, and this warps their ethics and their medical judgment. I speak from PERSONAL experience about what that does to decent medical care. Obamacare mandates that I must help pay for them, as do other federal laws. A woman deserves better than abortion. She should never HAVE to face such a horrifying choice. It robs her of her right to experience the joy at being pregnant (which many women will experience if you give them half a chance).
If you are a male nurse (I’m female, so it doesn’t apply to me) and you want children someday, getting a vasectomny is not an option. Vasectomies are also a cause of auto-immune disease. How about you just keep your fly zipped shut until you are in a position to protect your baby? This whole thing is so ASININE. Why do people have casual sex in the first place? It takes the meaning out of sex.
And if you believe THAT about Planned Parenthood, I’d sure like to sell you a bridge. I could use the money. Yes, a lot of the personnel are committed, at least for awhile. Then they discover, as Abby Johnson did, that PP is a pack of lies. They’re not trying to reduce the number of abortions. They’re trying to INCREASE them. They SELL abortions. Believe me, if what they did prevented pregnancy, they wouldn’t be doing it!
If you want to make abortion a private decision, keep it that way. I don’t want to know about it. I don’t want to be involved. I don’t want my doctor involved. As things stand now, the government PROMOTES promiscuity and abortion, and we have to pay for it.
Thanks for this, Dr. Kleinke.
Keep up the good work.
Unfortunately, in this instance you are peeing into the ocean.
This person seems to have drunk too much of the wrong Kool-ade.
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Your article outraged and infuriated me. What right does anyone have to force ME to pay for an organization that does over 300,000 abortions a year? If you are right about market forces, we don’t need Planned Parenthood. Someone else will take up the slack. I find your implication that women will naturally resort to having sex to be extremely demeaning. It is not in our nature to sleep with men who don’t cherish us enough to protect us from abortion.
Here is what your argument says to me. We are never going to stop rape completely. So let’s have rape centers that teach women martial arts and other methods of protecting themselves, but will allow any man to rape the woman of his choice in perfect safety, and let’s force the taxpayers to pay for it.
Here’s how I see abortion. It is medical rape of the mothers and axe-murder of the babies. I am supposed to subsidize this willingly, even if it only means that Planned Parenthood can take my money to support “other services” (what a joke!) so that they have more other money to devote to abortion?
65% of women report their abortions were coerced. 90% report they received inadequate counseling, or no counseling at all. Do you believe in informed consent? This figure should appall you.
Educate yourself. Pro-life people have adopted in huge numbers. (We have four adopted children in our family.) The mechanisms for adoption are already in place; only the babies are missing. They provide REAL services to women who face a troublesome pregnancy. They offer viable alternatives. Don’t go around defaming people who provide these services. Planned Parenthood’s founder, “The most loving thing a family can do for one of its children is to kill it” Margaret Sanger associated with the Nazis who brutally murdered millions of your own people.
I spend many, many hours helping women pick up the pieces of shattered lives after abortion, or find medical care after suffering a horrendous complication from a so-called legal and safe abortion. Women are far more likely to agonize over an abortion on their own, than as a result of anything another person can say to them.
Planned Parenthood offers contraceptives and sex “education” because they KNOW the result will be MORE abortion revenue for them. At the very least, if you believe the stuff you said, you need to condemn Planned Parenthood and support an organization (if it even exists) that won’t have the corruption Planned Parenthood has. If you don’t understand the problem, just go watch LiveAction videos on YouTube.
Would you come over to my house, point a gun in my face, and say, “Hand over your money, so I can give it to Planned Parenthood”? If you wouldn’t, don’t ask the government to do your dirty work for you. I have a right to refuse to pay for medical rape and axe-murder and for organizations that commit them.
oh, and to answer J.D.’s opening question, I hate abortions too, Every form of the procedure sickens me, and has since the time I was called to pick up a woman whose BP was mysteriously in the 60’s, about 20 minutes post procedure. The physician had apparently nicked her uterus on his way out, confirmed by the OR resuscitation team at the hospital, who performed an emergency hysterectomy on the patient. Her parents had to be called to tell them not to pick her up after school, the patient still didn’t have her license.
Interesting article. Peppering in demand and supply to a moral dilemma presently restrained by legal positivism is a first for me. It is legal positivism that the pro-abortion on demand crowd uses to shield from any form of disagreement from anyone who is convinced that destroying a human in utero is murder.
In regards to framing abortions within the context of market economics, it is an erroneous assumption and a straw man argument to propose that pro-lifers (whatever that means!) are naive about the demand for on demand abortions. The issue so seemingly glossed over throughout the article is the fact that there is a majority of the population that wants to remove the federal/state bureaucracy from the equation of providing subsidized pregnancy terminations and/or contraception, and rightly so.
I would think that anybody chanting demand and supply for abortions would be able to see that reproductive services would be run more efficiently and not trample on citizens rights, should it be left, completely and utterly, on the belief that the aggregate demand will dictate a proportionate supply of providers. It is naive to believe that politicians are removed from the profit motive, and therefore any choice they make is good for the people.
It is incredibly easy and sophomoric at best, to throw out the H bomb on opposing points of views, when the author plants himself first on the side of a moral objection to abortion, followed by diametrically denouncing government subsidized abortion opponents. R v W might be where many people derive their feelings regarding the freedom to kill a developing fetus, but it sure doesn’t state that funding should come from government revenue.
At this point in time, the question is not wether abortion is right or wrong (R v W settled that for most), the issue is wether or not PP should be continued to be funded by government revenue. To discard that question, since it’s just coming from some “hyprocrite” “stuck in the 17th century” with an inherent “visceral hatred of abortion” is a cop out. Reading this article confirms the fact that government revenue is funding abortions, based on the fact that the act is legal. Why else would the author write such a heartfelt piece on his belief that abortions should be free for all?
Very interesting concept of the difference between someone who is ‘pro-life’ and someone who is ‘anti-choice’.
Defunding the largest organization that promotes responsible sex is like shooting one’s self in the foot if you are pro-life.
Defunding Planned Parenthood makes perfect sense if you wish to control the reproductive choices of women, thus you are anti-choice.
Adoption is a beautiful wonderful thing, but it is not an alternative to pregnancy. Many women choose abortion because they cannot or do not want to be pregnant. Yes, let’s expand our adoption services!
But one must always remember, a woman who wishes to not be pregnant will choose an abortion.
I chose an abortion, because I did not/could not be pregnant. Had it been a year later, I might have carried to term and put the resulting child up for adoption. A few years later, i would keep the resulting child.
Financially, it makes more sense to provide birth control than to provide for the otherwise resulting children. Less birth control = more unwanted pregnancies = more abortions/more births = more money being spent in general.
I’m no genius at math, but that seems like grade school stuff.
Do you mind if I link this to my blog?
” The shouting match that erupted since my last comment thanking Dr. Kleinke reminds me of something I left earlier.”
What are you reading? The comments are far more tame then the name calling post they are discussing. I know you love to frame the argument and distort it as much as possible but by THCB standards this is nothing more then friendly chit chat.
“an abortion provider who killed several live babies by cutting their spinal chords with scissors.”
And a few dozen more by equally gruesome methods.
“but the details of that case is not the point. ”
Its not the point if you were on the wrong side of the argument. Someone claimed there was no bright line in abortion of wrong and acceptable. I hope to God or whoever everyone agrees what happened there was wrong. Many pro abortion people are unilling to draw that line or even admit there is a line. Vast majority of Americans agree late term elective abortions are wrong, many on the left still fight for the right to have one.
“I’m making the point that conflating criminal activity with legal activity is exactly the dynamic that has poisoned abortion discussions ever since the Roe decision”
Until you have a clear line of what is criminal and what is legal how do you have any discusion? This is one of the major problems with law by judiciary. I would consider any late term elective abortion illegal and I would consider giving minors medical procedures without parental notification illegal as well. PP does both of these.
“And the same messy thinking is evident when fraudulent billing methods or other illegal abuses of the system are used as broad brush evidence that the entire system is corrupt and should be abolished altogether.”
Apparently you like killing straw men as much as babies. Who said abolish the system? I see this dishonest argument runs rampant on the left, both you and JD use it. PP is not the system, PP is one corrupt political organization. We can get rid of PP and all their problems and still have a system. We would have a better system if PP was gone. Your comment just supports my point that the left has no problem with waste and fraud as long as it furthers your ideology.
What shouting match? If you repeat it enough people mighht believe you?
“My hope is that the hateful rhetoric being demonstrated in the last dozen or so comments will cool to more reasonable tones.”
Hypocrisy hath a name and it be John Ballard. The most hateful statements by anyone where from JD and his demonization of those that disagree with him, and you congradulated him. As long as they agree with you all the name calling and hate is ok, disagree and say nothing ill of another and you get branded. Sure thing John.
“I take reverences to the Left as a personal insult because I’m an old-fashioned Liberal still wearing that label without apology. ”
Apparently you do apologise otherwise you wouldn’t be so hurt and ashamed to be called a liberal. How in one sentenance do you both claim and reject the label?
“an illustration of the Last Word Game which aims to overcome an opponent with humiliation instead of persuasion. It is the tool of tyrants and bullies and I want nothing to do with such arguments.”
like calling people tyrants and bullies? is a hypocrite. They are lying to themselves, imposing their own neuroses about sex on the rest of us, and actually helping to make the problem worse. They are miserable Puritan scolds who, unconsciously, obviously care more about punishing girls and women for their sexuality than “protecting the unborn.” They are stuck in the 17th century, with the cruel and mindless mob?
then you respond
By making a compelling and sincere attempt to find safe footing in one of the most contentious issues of our day, Dr. Kleinke appeals to the better angels of everyone’s nature.
Can’t have it both ways John.
Wow. This morning my email had a flurry of notices from this thread. I’m beginning to regret having checked that box when I left my comments. The shouting match that erupted since my last comment thanking Dr. Kleinke reminds me of something I left earlier.
Saying it once clearly wasn’t enough so I will repeat it here:
I’m old enough to recall similar conversations about race with my racist peers before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and I can assure you that having a rational conversation trying to change the mind of an extremist who truly believes he or she has heard the voice of God, is no easy assignment.
What began as a discussion has deteriorated into “shouting match” like those referred to in Dr. Kleinke’s essay. It started with a comment which obliquely referred to a case in Philadelphia (I think that was the reference…none was specified) which involved a doctor in the guise of an abortion provider who killed several live babies by cutting their spinal chords with scissors. I think he was subsequently charged with murder and taken out of society, but the details of that case is not the point.
I’m making the point that conflating criminal activity with legal activity is exactly the dynamic that has poisoned abortion discussions ever since the Roe decision. And the same messy thinking is evident when fraudulent billing methods or other illegal abuses of the system are used as broad brush evidence that the entire system is corrupt and should be abolished altogether.
I doubt my comment here will be welcomed by either side in this shouting match, but I have to make it for the record and my own satisfaction. My hope is that the hateful rhetoric being demonstrated in the last dozen or so comments will cool to more reasonable tones.
Speaking for myself only, I take reverences to the Left as a personal insult because I’m an old-fashioned Liberal still wearing that label without apology.
And whenever I read or hear that blindly ignorant reference I know without further evidence that the speaker is using a sledge hammer to drive a thumb tack. It is a sure indication that a discussion is escalating into a shouting match, an illustration of the Last Word Game which aims to overcome an opponent with humiliation instead of persuasion. It is the tool of tyrants and bullies and I want nothing to do with such arguments.
[For comparison see Berne’s Games People Play (1962) Chapter Six, #4 “NOW I’VE GOT YOU, YOU SON OF A BITCH.”
Some of us were taught logic and good manners before the invention of Google and are still waiting for those marvelous algorithms to catch up with the recent past.]
As the author said, “Back now back to our regularly scheduled screaming match…”
Okay I’m connivced. Let’s put it to action.
The U.S. Inspector General for the Department of Health and Human Services has uncovered a consistent problem with New Jersey-based family planning clinics run by the Planned Parenthood abortion business. They were found to be improperly billing Medicaid for services that did not qualify as family planning.
“While other public health facilities and private facilities charged the state between $8 and $9 for a cycle of birth control pills, Planned Parenthood charged almost $12. The Planned Parenthood charge to the California government was several times more than it paid for the drugs originally.”
That is 50% increase, it seems we could close PP and let other facilities take over and deliver far more care and support for the same amount we spend now.
An initial audit revealed New Jersey improperly received federal reimbursement at the enhanced 90% rate for 160,955 prescriptions drug claims that were billed as family planning, but did not qualify as family planning services. A letter from the Inspector General to New Jersey officials recommended that New Jersey repay $2,219,746 to the federal government.
when I ask for welfare you can tell me to go work. When I drive on a road you can tell me to drive no faster then 65. When I send kids to public school you can dictate the material. Your argument makes no sense. not surprising.
“Finally, I explained how Planned Parenthood promotes responsibility, but you just ignore it.”
promoting responsibility doesn’t make covering up rape ok. Handing out free condoms doesn’t mean its ok to overbill Medicaid.
You don’t appear to know what the word allegaton means. When the State audit finds PP over charged it is no longer an allegation.
When the court finds matters as fact it is no longer an allegation.
Among other things, Judge Anderson testified that he found (from
evidence Kline presented as AG over a two day hearing in 2004) probable
cause to believe crimes had been committed by abortion clinics. He also
said that “Morrison probably should not have issued a clearance letter”
to Planned Parenthood (last summer.)
The judge’s remark about the clearance letter was based on his testimony
that state abortion reports which Planned Parenthood gave to his court
appeared to have been falsified.
A U.S. Government Accountability Office report says Planned Parenthood Federation of America cannot find some $1.3 billion given to it by the federal government from 2002 through 2008.
This is yet another example of why it needs defunded. The exact type of fraud and waste you liberals are ok with as long as it supports your ideology. 1.3 billion would pay for a lot of medical care for poor women and children.
Great, then since I get to tell you how to live your life, I’d like to see you go work at a Planned Parenthood clinic for a year.
As to all your other points, no I did not concede them (it’s not conceed), but I’m just an idiot liberal who learned to spell.
You have a bunch of allegations. When LiveAction was pulling their stunt, Planned Parenthood reported the people to the FBI.
You have no statistics comparing how many people they help to how many mistakes they may make. You just rant with anecdotes.
Also, do you realize how many abortions private insurance pays for?
Finally, I explained how Planned Parenthood promotes responsibility, but you just ignore it.
Please feel free to rant away against me, but I’ve made my point. My tax money supports your life, so by your logic, unless you are a total hypocrite, I should be able to tell you how to live your life, so go work in a women’s clinic and face the hardship these women face for a year.
yes I did answer, let me repeat in fewer words for you;
You already do
I take your short reply to mean you conceed all the other points?
You didn’t answer my question: since you enjoy public goods supported by my tax dollars, does this imply that I can now tell you how to live your life?
Over One-Third of California’s 300,000 Annual Abortions are Medicaid (Medi-Cal) State Funded
Medi-Cal Funded Induced Abortions 2007: Total Reported 80,069 (Probable non-reported additional funded abortions, based on 2005 data, 11,000 – see below.)
Breakdown of Reported numbers: Hispanic 22,365; Black 12,098; White 11,130; Asian 3,547; Other 315; Not Identified 30,614
you were saving David?
wow Bobbi way to set women back 50 years. Behind on child support payments becuase I disagree with you, there is a nice intelligent argument. They make spell check to fix my shortcommings, sadly they haven’t made anything for your ignornace.
Do you really want to argue planned parenthood doesn’t use federal money to cover abortions?
“Also, since my tax dollars pay for the roads you drive on, the public education that you and your family enjoy, and even the military that defends your country, do I get to come over and tell you how to live your life?”
Are you saying the left doesn’t advocate for what wars we fight and how we fight them?
Does the left not already control public education, what is tought, what grades, how advancement is determined, public education is highly dictated. In CA for example they are also trying to tell parents they can’t home school and if they do home school under what conditions.
Counter your intent those are all great examples of how we are told to live our life.
How about all the examples of planned parenthood not reporting sexual abuse of minors? If Planned Parenthood cared at all about women they wouldn’t cover up all the statutory rape they do.
Stuff like this is below is common all over the country with them;
the state of California previously launched audits of various Planned Parenthood affiliates and discovered more than $5.2 million in overbilling at a single affiliate in San Diego. Gonzalez claims that lobbyists working for the abortion provider worked to prevent other audits from moving forward.
The Kansas Supreme court is allowing a 107-count indictment against Planned Parenthood of Kansas and Mid-Missouri to go forward.
Newman says the charges are extremely serious. “The files that the district attorney obtained contained [records on] many underage women, some as young as 14 years old, who were getting abortions and even illegal late-term abortions in the state that did not allow them,” he explains. “And then, Planned Parenthood attempted to cover it up by falsifying the records.”
“I can tell you from experience that Planned Parenthood often turns a blind eye to sexual abuse and trafficking – what you see in Live Action’s videos is not a rare occurrence. But ignorance is no defense, especially when it has turned their clinics into a safe haven for those who sexually exploit women and girls. This is not a training problem so much as it is an ideology problem.
Des Moines, IA – Operation Rescue has received a 906-page packet of documents that was obtained from the Iowa Attorney General’s office through the open records act that reveals an effort by Attorney General Tom Miller and his staff of hinder OR’s efforts to obtain a criminal investigation of Planned Parenthood of the Heartland and their “telemed” remote-controlled abortion pill distribution scheme. The documents were sent to Operation Rescue from an anonymous source.
“Can you give an example of how Planned Parenthood is a corrupt organization?”
How many more would you like?
” So how are women taking your money?”
Medicaid covers abortions in 15 states and the risk to health has been defined in questionable ways.
My goodness, how many of you here have ever purchased Rx contraceptives (versus barrier method) or stepped foot inside a PP? Try taking your daughter or niece on an educational field trip there to see what they could do to help her someday. If you’re diametrically opposed to that, your next field trip should be to a nunnery.
I don’t know what PP funds in the way of abortions, since I never had to ask. I do know that they provide free barrier contraception and OCPs on a sliding scale at far more reasonable cost than out of pocket at the pharmacy which starts at $30 a month with an insurance Rx plan, so as NATE pointed out at $12 a month is a great deal if that’s all their billing to the govt. The patient pays on a sliding scale depending on how much she makes at her after school job, college internship, or part-time minimum wage vocation. I’m willing to bet the sliding scale applies to abortions as well as OCPs (hence the whole free abortion assertion is only meant to incite regardless of inaccuracy).
As a mother, I support requirements of parental notification for minors seeking an abortion, and even as a teen I think most are desperate enough that they would tell their parents of their situation in order to end an unwanted pregnancy if they had to. There’s a reason minors need parental signature for everything else. Children will often want to choose the easy way out without discussing it first. Parents have a right to know, even if the result is they force that child to deliver and raise that baby as punishment for their mistake and obvious filial transgressions.
Men like you never take responsibility for women. You not only never learned to spell, you probably are behind on your child support payments. But, it is always so convenient for you to say that the right to choose somehow comes out of your pocket? And, really, how does that work? Medicaid and most public programs do not have Federal funding for abortion. But, many women who have had unwanted pregnancies and brought them to term are living on your dime…so, learn the facts along with how to use spellcheck.
Whats courageous about posting popular beliefs on a blog? How much courage does it really take to pound a fey keys knowing your far left audience is going to fawn all over you?
J.D. do you accept that people can oppose and want to see Planned Parenthood defunded becuase it is a corrupt and overy political mess or is everyone all the names you throw out?
You can show no better example of hypocracy then this statement;
“We should be doing everything in our power to stop unwanted pregnancies from ever occurring in the first place”
Yes we should, but the left has not taken one action besides pushing protected sex and abortition since R v W. Name one things the left has done to stop abortition being used as birth control. Name one things the left has done to push personal responsibility. When has the left and abortion pushers ever advocated for responsibility? Far from doing everything in your power you have done next to nothing but advocate sex and abortions.
As far as the women’s right to her body argument Margalit and others like to make, I’ll stop telling women what they should do with their body when they stop trying to take my money I earn with my body to correct their actions. Why does the right to dictate ones body not extend to those being forced to pay for the lack of responisbility of others?
Can you give an example of how Planned Parenthood is a corrupt organization?
Planned Parenthood advocates personal responsibility everyday. You are being responsible when you use birth control, because you know you are not ready or financially able to support a child. Also, rather than simply saying don’t have sex, Planned Parenthood and other “left” programs promote that people examine their lives and think about when they will be ready to have sex.
Finally, Planned Parenthood does not use federal funds to perform abortions; it has been banned from doing so for quite some time. So how are women taking your money?
Also, since my tax dollars pay for the roads you drive on, the public education that you and your family enjoy, and even the military that defends your country, do I get to come over and tell you how to live your life?
David: “Can you give an example of how Planned Parenthood is a corrupt organization?”
Go check out LiveAction Films on YouTube. There is evidence aplenty. Go read Abby Johnson’s book Unplanned. Take notice of the fact that she has filed a whistleblower’s suit against Planned Parenthood for millions of dollars in Medicaid fraud.
Don’t think that our tax money to Planned Parenthood doesn’t fund abortion. It most emphatically does. They simply take money out of their own pocket that they’d use to subsidize their other services and plow it into abortion because we’re paying for those other services. In the meantime, they show POR NOGRAPHIC films in schools (I’ve seen a couple of them) to ENCOURAGE sexual promiscuity so they get more business.
If you think the services Planned Parenthood “offers” need to be offered, find some other organization to support. Planned Parenthood doesn’t deserve a CENT of your tax money because it is so thoroughly corrupt.
@Nate Tax dollars are meant to protect the public, from criminals, natural disasters, and yes the societal issue of population growth. It also funds military wars which I don’t agree with, roads that I may or may not use, schools that run the gamut from failing to excelling. The majority of people in this country agree with birth control, both left and right. Personal responsibility is not an issue of right or left. It’s an issue of having a moral compass and also of financial viability. I don’t hear those in the left advocating abortions. They are advocating choice between going through the mild trauma of ripping out a seed from their body before it has matured, versus uprooting their whole existence for a lifetime sentence of becoming a parent before they are ready and able, or adoption, which for many can be likened to the unbearable trauma of taking the ripe fruit of their loins and throwing it to the wolves, figuratively of course.
Anyone politically active and commenting on these blogs can afford a computer, whatever new gadget is out there and I’m sure easily the cost of an abortion or birth control out of pocket. It’s the teenagers and those less financially secure that depend on Planned Parenthood, who are more often political apathetic, who need it the most, and you would take that all away? Why, because you so want to believe in abstinence without marriage? Get real! Sex happens, sex is great, no one is going to stop it from happening.
I might lay down my life to protect my unborn child now in my 30s, but in my late teens, absolutely not, in my 20s, it would have depended. Planned Parenthood gave me those options without having to include and alienate my parents who were supportive in everything but dating matters due to their own peculiar rigid conservatism. I had a right to responsibly build my life as I saw fit, and no prudish sentiments by the religious right should be allowed to interfere in my god-given right to liberty where my own body and money were concerned.
I’m curious to know if you can wrap your brain around this statement I made: Making abortion safer and easier protects a woman if she so chooses to utilize medical advancement to reverse the outcome of a biologically driven process for which she and the guy involved has failed to prevent a pregnancy either through ineffectiveness of birth control or lack thereof. Birth control should be simple yes (especially if Planned Parenthood is around), but becoming pregnant is far easier relative to the investment and responsibility required to responsibly raise a child to adulthood.
” I had a right to responsibly build my life as I saw fit, and no prudish sentiments by the religious right should be allowed to interfere in my god-given right to liberty where my own body and money were concerned.”
Your money? I thought we were talking about tax payor funded Planned Parenthood?
Where is the fathers god given right to liberty? Why do you get to determine if he has a child or 18 years of child support? How do you reconcile the double standard?
Finally “responsibly build”, if you had praticed responsibility you wouldn’t have been in position to have an abortion now would you?
How do you justify killing a baby as long as it is inside the womb, but two minutes later once it is out it would be murder? Things that would be unthinkable are perfectly ok and just a women’s choice if the baby is 5 minutes younger. That is what I can’t get my head around.
Did you actually write this essay to change anyone’s opinion? By calling everyone who is “pro-life” (airquotes yours) everything but a Nazi?
Really? Do you find that works for you?
Or maybe you just wrote it to harvest slaps on the back in the comment thread. Well, then, well done.
Tim, either way I’m glad that this article got you thinking, perhaps about how you want to get your point across in a respectful way… Is there something you have to say about the topic at hand, or were you just interested in nit-picking at someones courageous act to speak from their knowledge of a horribly complex issue.
“and there is NEVER a bright clear line at which “completely unproblematic” becomes “completely problematic” or “wrong”).
What was happenibng in Philly wasn’t wrong?
Many thanks, Dr. Kleinke
With this last statement, J.D., I most violently agree 🙂
what a difficult sbeujct to write about!! I will let you in on one little secret .The law does not recognize a fetus in utero as a live being only when it is out of the womb. The only exception is homicide. I learned this by pursuing the government for help when my daughter suffered moderate to severe brain damage in utero during a life threatening car accident. I am probably not the person to answer this type of question because it seems as if all these pro-life ‘rs (including Bush) don’t get it. No one told me anything was wrong with my baby I had to figure it out myself and ever since I have had difficulty getting help for her. The individual that caused this accident didn’t even get a ticket and no compensation for her injuries this is the American laws in action. It is funny how people can take the stance of pro-life but once a life comes into this world that is different or has special needs everyone turns the other cheek!! These poor kiddos seem to be disposable in our wonderful country. I am a registered nurse and now find myself unable to work due to lack of care for her. I am a single parent of 5 I have always been able to provide for my family by myself until this occurred and everywhere I go to get help I get the runaround sorry you don’t qualify It’s no wonder why we have so much crime in this world.. God help me for saying this but sometimes abortion might be the best thing for the unborn considering the lives they may be entering. Some pregnancies are unwanted (yes they should be using birth control) but we all know people are out there having sex Why would we encourage mothers to have these children And what if the kiddos suffer some type of abnormality? Most people in America would not want these type of kids I have many stories about this sbeujct. the whole situation sickens me. They always advertise adoption like it is some glamorous wonderful heart felt thing going on but what they don’t talk about is these families that use these kids as a paycheck ..don’t ever hear much about this but it is happening!!!! I can go on and on
@ Margalit – as usual, we are in violent agreement, especially about your main point – but I never said nor implied that a woman become “a living incubator (for a fee?) for richer and older women or men who desire a baby.” I merely acknowledged that some unknown percentage of girls and women would in fact rather carry to term and give the baby away for adoption than abort; our system is too drunk on fertility money to accommodate them; and worst of all, these same girls and women are then trotted out in their horrific grief by the “pro-life” movement and used (again like Hester Prynne) as an example to terrorize other girls and women into carrying to term, when they themselves may want to terminate their pregnancy.
@ John B – thanks for pointing that out, and based on your comments, I trust you to “brochure” this accurately!
@ Bobbie – you are incredibly courageous for your second statement, and if you’re same Bobbie Buell I know from my day-job, I am not surprised by this or by your candor.
@ Mike – we could go into a long and medically interesting debate about the risks of first-trimester abortion, esp. multiple D&Cs, and an even longer and more interesting debate about the moral component. But what should be encouraging for all is the fact that you and I can differ about the moral component and yet agree completely about the political realities. Not unlike those in the “pro-life” movement who claim to be Christian – despite a glaring absence of compassion or charity for girls and women in profound pain and need – my own moral view on abortion is galvanized by own deeply held religious convictions. Relevant to this difficult subject, here are two of the many reasons my own religion resonates for me: it has the clarity to place the law mandating the preservation of human life above all other laws; it also has the wisdom to accept that what we even define as “life” itself is subject to constant revision, based on the emergence of new scientific knowledge and medical technologies, and on a complex calculus not of absolutes but of enormously difficult trade-offs between, say, the known life of a woman confronting an unwanted pregnancy and the unknown life of a fetus that may come into the world, from day one, as an “unwanted child.”
More importantly, everyone – it does not matter what Mike and I think or believe. A woman’s decision to have an abortion is a solemn, private matter between her, her care providers, and her God. Her right to control her body and her destiny is built upon the most foundational principle of America, no matter how much Mike or I or anyone else does not like that fact. Beyond that difficult philosophical truism, I tried to point out in this pragmatic post that we have no control over her decision anyway – and the more we try to control the situation, the worse we make it.
The most compassionate and charitable way to minimize the pain and suffering for all involved is to reduce the number of times girls and women in this country have to confront this awful decision – by increasing their access to health care, birth control and education, and by staying the hell out of the way the rest of the time.
@J.D. Kleinke and @Margalit, I appreciate the articulation of both your thought processes on the subject, regardless of nuances here or there I might not agree with, if we could align our positions and carve out the greatest common denominators we might have something here. Touche, Touche!
First, I’m always a little puzzled by expressions of extreme distaste for all forms of abortion. Is this merely a rhetorical ploy here? I must say that I do not share this kind of gut repulsion or dislike.
I think the way most people (like me) feel is that abortion in the first trimester is extremely unproblematic, second trimester is more of a moral dilemma, and third trimester, for some, does approach a zone of moral repugnance…. but even then, not always, if there are extenuating circumstances.
So are you JD really so appalled by abortion, or just burnishing your anti-abortion credentials in order to advance a very reasonable argument about prevention services and alternatives to abortion?
If you really are so repulsed by abortion, fair enough. Some people feel that way, and if reminding those who oppose pregnancy prevention services that (some) abortion rights advocates don’t like abortion either helps advance the cause of prevention and adoption by showing that we “get” what they get (or at least some of us do) then I suppose that is all for the good.
The problem in the abortion discourse however is that there are two sides, one of which must defend moral ambiguity… (first trimester is deeply and profoundly different from third trimester…. and there is NEVER a bright clear line at which “completely unproblematic” becomes “completely problematic” or “wrong”). In contrast the other side can mount unambiguous absolutist arguments.
Defending abortion rights therefore gets very dicey unless we are willing to defend moral ambiguity and against moral certainty.
It is very hard to defend moral ambiguity in a street demonstration or a bar fight, and there is no denying that the American abortion debate is a knock down drag out bar fight by now. But I’m not sure that we can win this one if we fail to vociferously insist upon moral ambiguity and the variations in the meaning and problematicity of abortion through gestation. That may seem tactically and strategically difficult, but it has the advantage of truth. (Although your repulsion from ALL abortion suggests that perhaps it is not your truth.)
We should not be repulsed by abortion, per se. We should learn to distinguish politically/medically/philosophically between stages of abortion, and politically, as hard as it is to say it, we have no choice but to defend those differences in public discourse.
Second, the idea of increasing adoption rates is not new. The suggestion that fertility clinics are perversely incentivized not to do this is a useful and astute insight. Thank you for putting that idea out there.
However my read of the right wing talk o’sphere is that, for example, Obama’s overtures on pregnancy prevention, words in 2008 to the effect of “let’s work together on the areas we can agree on”, just as you say above, have not been met with actual political response or practical efforts. It is commendable to stand up and repeat in the new context what has been said before, including in the 2008 election, but the catnip of anti-abortion politics is just too potent to resist for certain politicians speaking to certain districts and constituencies.
Your effort to concede the horribleness of abortion, in order to make the case for pregnancy services therefore gives away too much (in my opinion), because abortion is not always horrible at all, while offering a bargain that we already know the right has slapped down.
I admire your optimism therefore, but think you concede too much (including what I believe is the simple truth that early abortion is not and should not be considered to be morally problematic), and expect that you will get little for your trouble.
I admire and appreciate your effort to take on the issue.
Well said Mike, it’s about time that after reading enough comments someone put that forward. J. Stefan Walker says “I just can’t see how making killing fetuses easier and safer, and more efficient, will somehow reduce the killing of fetuses.” It doesn’t reduce it at all. Planned Parenthood is one way to diminish abortions. Reduction of income disparity within a society can be another inverse correlate to abortions. Early childhood exposure to morality education from family/peers/institutions can curtail abortions. Making abortion safer and easier protects a woman if she so chooses to utilize medical advancement to reverse the outcome of a biologically driven process for which she has failed to prevent a pregnancy either through ineffectiveness of birth control or lack thereof.
How many times does one find themselves at a loss for words when they have found out a friend has miscarried either right before or right after the magical 12th week, when everything should be going along smoothly enough to make the announcement. Particularly, if you have not experienced it, you want to say (but you don’t), I’m so sorry but I hear more and more that’s it’s not uncommon for these things to happen, not all fetuses make it to full term. The varying degrees of reaction from slight disappointment to devastation make clear that this is a deeply and singularly personal issue that is futile to legislate out of existence across a nation. It is simply too easy to become pregnant relative to the investment and responsibility required to responsibly raise a child to adulthood.
What if science found evidence that a woman could wish away a pregnancy by mentally and emotionally denying the continuation of the pregnancy, and physically punishing her body either by lack of sleep, poor nutrition or excessive exercise, and what if those measures resulted in a miscarriage? Is this morally reprehensible? Where to draw the line? Not by thought but only by deed? What more is a first trimester fetus, than only a thought? It is the thought of a potential child that is either mourned or met with relief in an early term miscarriage. For a woman who does not want to be pregnant, the thought is a nuisance that she may grow to love or sadly resent.
Late term, or post-quickening is a separate issue. One really feels for a woman or couple who has lost a late term wanted pregnancy. Where the pregnancy is still unwanted at a late stage is where adoption should be strongly advocated. At that point the pregnancy is apparent, so the remaining issue is labor. This is where we as a society need to revisit the documentary The Business of Being Born so that nulliparous women can understand that with midwife guidance, they are entering a realm of physical challenge, not a medical runaway train ride. Every effort should be made to place those infants.
Are pro-lifers really honest about who they think should be raising crack babies, fetal alcohol syndrome babies, disabled or sick babies with genetic abnormalities evident from genetic screening or ultrasound? Are all babies so precious that they would find room in their homes? Or were some souls meant to be reshuffled into a better life, rather than endure the harsh realities of one our society is ill equipped to support despite all the rhetoric.
There is nothing morally ambiguous about the abortion issue. Nothing. Go WATCH an abortion on YouTube or wherever. Go WATCH the butcher RAPE a woman with medical instruments, AXE-MURDER her baby, and then drag out the pieces one at a time. It’s SICKENING, and anybody who thinks otherwise is simply refusing to face facts. It doesn’t matter how old the baby is. It is still the same HEINOUS act, and it is as much an attack on the mother as on her baby. WE DESERVE BETTER.
Interesting observation about men. That is likely part of the dynamic animating extreme opposition to the procedure. It’s certainly why I am pro-choice despite any other reservations I have.
Here a couple of old links I put together a few years back when I was looking into the origins of the procedure.
The original Hippocratic Oath included injunctions against abortions and “at the time of the Persian Empire abortifacients were known and that criminal abortions were severely punished.”
A poem by Ovid, the Greek poet, expresses grief at the idea that the mother of his unborn child has taken something to induce a miscarriage.
The controversy has roots in pagan times. That is why I’m not optimistic for any clear resolution in my lifetime.
John, just one question: WHY are you pro-choice; WHY do you want to abandon women to abortionists? It’s not just unborn children who are being attacked. Abortion is an attack on us WOMEN as well. We deserve better, and we deserve legal protection.
Pat, I really want to give you a reply you might grasp but my command of the language is inadequate to the challenge.
Changing the subject slightly, the tenor of the strident polemics with which you continue to plaster this fourteen-month old comment thread, indicates to me that you seriously need to seek counseling. I’m only a layman, an old guy retired from the food business, but I have a lot of life experiences and have come in contact with a lot of people.
Don’t take my word for it. Do yourself a favor and make a copy of Dr. Kleinke’s article and all these comments as well. Don’t edit or leave anything out, including screen names and dates. Then take what you have made and ask two or three people whom you trust and respect to take time to read it carefully and tell you what they think.
Don’t try to prejudice opinions in advance. Allow them time to read it at leisure, even leaving their responses for another day if possible. And save your emotions for later as well.
At least one of them should be either a pastor or a physician.
I’m not trying to dodge your questions or change your mind.
I’m truly trying to offer you good advice. And I wish you well.
What you wrote is what is known as an ad hominem attack, and it’s among the most scurrilous ones I have seen as far as I am concerned. And you did it in “caring and concerned” terms. You are basically calling me insane, and telling me I should seek help. This avoids what I have actually SAID, and is an attempt to poison the well, another logical fallacy. If you can’t argue logically or from the facts, you’ve already lost. As for what I might grasp, I think I have a good enough mind to grasp a lot of things, but what I can’t figure out is how ANYBODY would abandon women to such a BARBARIC and HEINOUS act as abortion. It is SICK! Go watch an abortion being done, and then come back and tell me otherwise.
I would have to say that anybody who can watch an abortion being done and then come back and say they see nothing wrong with that, is the one who needs help.
It horrifies ME that people aren’t HORRIFIED by abortion. They should be. The world around me has gone insane. I’m not the one who needs help, here.
And by the way, I have already ASKED pastors and physicians I trust, and they think I’m not being graphic ENOUGH.
Hey, I work with women who are agonized over the abortions they have had, even to the point of being suicidal. It is CRUEL to do that to ANY woman, and I wouldn’t wish that off on my worst enemy. It is the ultimate form of slavery, because it enslaves a woman’s SPIRIT.
My husband says my response is milder than he expected! 🙂
You are basically calling me insane, and telling me I should seek help.
I am, in fact, telling you to seek help but I am not by any means calling you insane. That is categorically untrue. In fact, I made it clear that I am merely a layman and I urged you NOT to take my word for it.
If you have the courage to do as I suggested and find others, including a minister or a physician, who find my response to be an ad hominem attack, poisoning the well or any other logical fallacy, I apologize in advance and you are free to dismiss me and all I have said as evidence that I have a hopelessly delusional, deranged mind.
I can only repeat what I said before.
I’m offering you what I consider good advice and I wish you well.
John, excuse me a moment while I undertake a deep sigh. Why should *I* seek help for being able to SEE that an abortion is a form of RAPE on a woman, with medical instruments, and a brutal AXE-MURDER of her own child? It is a crime against humanity. It is those who REFUSE TO SEE what abortion really is who need to seek help.
I don’t need courage to “seek help”. I don’t even need courage to call this ATROCITY what it really is. I already have that courage, and I’m calling it exactly that.
You go watch a film of a surgical abortion being done. I double dare ya! Many women have TOLD me abortion is a form of rape.
My husband says, TELL HIM AGAIN. OK, here goes: I have already TALKED to pastors and doctors about this, and they agree with me. They think I’m not being forceful ENOUGH.
Your “good advice” is that I should turn a blind eye to how TWO people are being irreparably harmed, and just accept that this has been done to a billion women and their children, worldwide. No thanks!
If men could get pregnant, abortion would be a capital offense. I wish you disturbing dreams until you face what abortion really is.
It is amazing that the greatest percentage of anti-abortion comments are from men. Whether you are medical professional or not, you certainly have no idea what it is like to be sixteen and pregnant. Nobody likes abortion…but being someone who had one illegally, I do not want men to send my daughters and granddaughters to the same back alley. Clearly, elective abortions should be reduced, but all woman must have a choice that does not include coat hangers and knitting needles. Anyone who thinks it won’t happen again delusional.
Bobbi, let me make myself perfectly clear. I AM FEMALE. So just right HERE, the greatest percentage of anti-abortion comments are from women. I know many people don’t know what it’s like to be sixteen and pregnant. But the truth is, what we have NOW are abortion mills, which are exactly like the back alley mills you have named, except for one thing: abortionists are no longer afraid of getting caught, so they are a LOT more careless, and MORE women are being maimed and killed. There will always be some who will have abortions no matter what. And there will always be rapists. It makes no more sense to deprive women of legal protection against abortionists than it does to make rape legal. Since I don’t think “it won’t happen again” and instead I think “it’s happening NOW, in spite of legality”, I don’t share your delusion. And by the way, that photo of the woman dead with a coat hanger abortion? That was inflicted on her BY HER BOYFRIEND. Boyfriends are the major source of coercion to force women into abortions they don’t want.
How about the sixteen year old? If she stops letting men use her sexually, she won’t get pregnant in the first place! Funny how nobody ever mentions the perfect birth control: abstinence. Your scenario is a false dilemma. Please argue logically. There are other alternatives. Several, in fact.
And you know what? Unlike our “president”, who doesn’t want to “punish” his children with a baby, I don’t want to punish them with an abortion. A baby is a blessing, not a punishment. You didn’t see it that way, but that doesn’t mean you were right.
I just can’t see how making killing fetuses easier and safer, and more efficient, will somehow reduce the killing of fetuses. Working, as I do, with many frail, dementia-laden elderly, I honestly believe that – if we can all cheer for an eloquent essay such as the above, for its logic and hitting all the right notes – soon we will find equally sound arguments for efficiently doing away with the demented, the terminally ill, etc.
Well put, Dr. Walker. This is the slippery slope reservation in a nutshell. I wrestled with it a long time myself. As a Christian I find abortions, all kinds, morally reprehensible. But I also believe that the only true morality is that which is chosen, not compelled. For what it’s worth, here has been my journey.
The saying that if men were angels there would be no need for government is more than a clever aphorism. In a perfect moral universe everyone chooses to do right, but mortals often must be forced to make right choices. The argument always shifts from what is moral to what is legal. But it doesn’t take long to realize that morality and legality are often not congruent. This is where the abortion issue becomes polarized. At one extreme are those who regard any fertilized egg to be legally human, subject to legal protection from being killed. (Here in Georgia an elected representative has introduced a bill that would criminalize miscarriages under certain circumstances, making abortion and miscarriage covered under the “prenatal murder” statute.) At the other extreme are those who will not give ground to any constraints, even up to the onset of full-term labor. Both extremes are immobilized by slippery slope reservations, fearing that any compromise will lead to an opposite extreme.
I myself fall between those extremes, being both anti-abortion and pro-choice. I see my role as similar to what I think Dr. Kleinke is advocating, as mediator between the extremes. As a non-medical senior caregiver in my post-retirement life (and potential future candidate?) I am as sensitive as you to the euthanasia question. I followed the question closely from Nancy Cruzon to Terry Schiavo and came to the conclusion that end-of-life decisions are best left up to individual cases, with the decision left to individuals in consultation with family members, doctors, clergy, lawyers and whomever they CHOOSE to have involved. (In recent years, as I’m sure you know, better and more widespread final directives have been developed as well as the hospice resource.)
I hope to see the day when the law will be clarified at the federal level, overriding the incoherent mess that has developed at the state level. The “Hyde Amendment” is a step in that direction, although at the present even that piece of the puzzle is under assault by the extreme pro-life camp (adding the word “forcible” to the definition of “rape” or eliminating insurance coverage of abortions altogether). As the law now stands, all abortions are basically legal up to the time of delivery, a situation I find morally repellent, no matter how legal the procedure might be. A reasonable compromise would be legalizing abortions up to a certain point, after which progressive restrictions protecting the life of the baby (I hate that word fetus) until birth. Part of the language of Roe makes reference to the historic benchmark of “quickening,” the moment when a pregnant woman could feel movement in her womb, as the past legal definition of when a potential future citizen was on the way. They also suggested the word “viability” as a possible legal metric, although with the advance of science that term is getting longer with every neonatal advance.
I hope this helps move the conversation forward. I do not expect the moral questions to be finalized, but sometime while I’m still alive I would love to see the matter resolved legally.
The issue is NOT whether or not people can act as moral agents (or not) by committing an act that destroys a tiny human being made in the image of God (who really belongs to God, not the mother), but several of the following:
1. they ask the wrong question. The right question is, “Does any government have the right to give a person permission to murder an unborn child?” It’s not WHO, but WHETHER.
2. Women deserve legal protection from abortionists. Laws against abortion target abortionists, not women. Abortion is dangerous, and ALWAYS damages a woman’s body, without exception. But women who “choose” abortion never give their INFORMED consent, because they are not told of the development of their baby, nor of the horrible risks involved in abortion. The fact is, by the time most women even know they are pregnant, and time to react and decide what to do, the baby has had a heartbeat and brain waves for days, and even now has eyes and fingers. Surgical abortion does PERMANENT damage to the reproductive systems of 35% of the women who have one, THAT WE KNOW ABOUT. The idea that anyone would penalize a woman for the NATURAL DEATH of her baby through miscarriage is just a red herring people throw into the mix to confuse things.
Right now, abortion is legal. They say it is supposed to be a private decision. Well, let it BE a private decision. I don’t owe it to any woman to pay for her contraception or abortion any more than I owe it to smokers to pay smokers’ rates on insurance to reduce what they have to pay. Either it’s private or it’s not. You can’t have it both ways.
Keep your eyes open. Family members and doctors are often perfectly willing to neglect or actively kill a patient. Family members don’t want the care eating up the estate. No, this should not be left up to family members and doctors. And far too many people are signing a Living Will, not knowing what legally it REALLY says, but it’s permission to KILL someone either through neglect or active means. And even if they may think it’s what they want at the time, they may change their minds, and then what? The signed Living Will is Out There. And people will decide they are incompetent to change their minds, or worse yet, they are unable to convey their wishes. Euthanasia and neglect are just as unethical as abortion. Disabled people deserve legal protection from people who would neglect them or kill them.
It’s not about what is morally repugnant. It’s about the fact that our Creator gave us the UNALIENABLE right to life, and ALL law must support that.
This piece is well-argued and intriguing, with sincere sentiment no doubt apparent in its tone. It strikes a chord with my own developed sense of intellectualism, realism, and progressive belief system about how, logistically, we in healthcare and politics can make the world better. However, I am struck with a sense of fear at how we can – in our sincere efforts and arguments – kind of jump over the main point of arguing, striving, working, and health-caring in the first place: I just can’t see how making killing fetuses easier and safer, and more efficient, will somehow reduce the killing of fetuses. Working, as I do, with many frail, dementia-laden elderly, I honestly believe that – if we can all cheer for an eloquent essay such as the above, for its logic and hitting all the right notes – soon we will find equally sound arguments for efficiently doing away with the demented, the terminally ill, etc. etc. Unlike the author, I do not impune the motives herein; I think them sincere enough. But we are but deceiving ourselves. Some things are simple – but not explainable. Liberal as I am, I must align myself with those against elective abortion…but hopefully heed the author’s apt chastisement of our collective fault in failing to care more for the real causes of the problem.
“Do you hate abortion? Me too.”
I assume you narrowly mean the intentional “therapeutic” variety, i.e., either the elective surgical or pharmaceutical px’s.
GREAT WORK, J.D…THESE VERY PEOPLE WHO CLAIM THEY WANT TO PRESERVE “LIFE” ALSO CARRY GUNS AND BELIEVE IN THE DEATH PENALTY. SO, IT’S NO SURPRISE THEY WANT TO GET RID OF PLANNED PARENTHOOD TO REDUCE ABORTIONS…
By making a compelling and sincere attempt to find safe footing in one of the most contentious issues of our day, Dr. Kleinke appeals to the better angels of everyone’s nature. He very carefully said “Large numbers of girls and women do not want children but also do not want to abort, while just around the medical complex’s corner, large numbers of parents will spend small fortunes and endure miserable, protracted interventions trying to have children.” I don’t find anything he said suggesting that anyone “agree to become a living incubator (for a fee?) for richer and older women or men who desire a baby.” And no, he didn’t say anything about the men planting the seeds.
Appealing to pro-life extremists he speaks a language they might understand, advancing a strong argument against defunding Planned Parenthood and encouraging effective sex education. Read this paragraph again:
If the crusaders for the “unborn” actually wanted to eliminate abortions, they would be doing everything in their power to expand Planned Parenthood’s funding and full range of services. They would seek to fund this and every other avenue for the provision of basic health services for vulnerable girls and women. They would, of course, also hold their noses and support the health care reform bill – any health care reform bill – that increases access to basic health care services for poor women. They would work to create massive new systems to enable the adoption of unwanted babies of girls and women who choose not to abort. And they would be doing everything in their fiscal power to increase sex education in our schools.
I don’t know how many readers have actually tried to speak rationally with extremists from the pro-life side of the issue, but I can assure you that this paragraph is very bitter medicine for them to swallow. When Dr. Kleinke uses language like “heinousness of abortion” and “the visceral hatred of abortion shared by many Americans” and its “repugnance” he is addressing that crowd directly in language they will understand. Whether or not it is true, or whether he means it, is beside the point. It is language that might get someone’s attention.
I’m old enough to recall similar conversations about race with my racist peers before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and I can assure you that having a rational conversation trying to change the mind of an extremist who truly believes he or she has heard the voice of God, is no easy assignment. (In those days we used the primitive phrase “women’s liberation” which was almost as inflammatory as “desegregation.”)
Ya’ll cut Dr. Kleinke some slack. He’s one of the good guys. We need more people like him.
Thank you Margarlit for expressing my thoughts. Funny how in the entire article there is no mention of men’s role in making women pregnant. I guess they are absolved of any responsibility in the worldview of some men. And to extend your point about suggesting that women act as incubators for those who may want to adopt, from what I’ve observed making markets for buying & selling babies hasn’t worked out so well.
I think you miss the point of the the Pro-Life movement. If you die while trying to murder your unborn child, then you got what you deserved, because you are a murderer.
I do not subscribe to this, but it is a common refrain whenever the the negative effects of a lack of abortion services is mentioned.
Women do not by and large seek abortions because they are having difficulty placing an unwanted infant. They seek abortions because they don’t want to be pregnant and have a baby, period.
“Educating” poor or young and impressionable women about the “heinousness of abortion” and “the visceral hatred of abortion shared by many Americans” and its “repugnance”, just so they agree to become a living incubator (for a fee?) for richer and older women or men who desire a baby, is no less repugnant than the overly dramatized, and largely incorrect “idea of anyone venturing into a pregnant women with their own hands and aborting a fetus at any stage”.
Planned Parenthood should be fully funded, and more programs providing safe abortion services should be funded as well, because it is nobody’s business how a woman utilizes her body, and a bunch of “cells dividing riotously” do not make a baby, unless the woman in whose body they are dividing says so.
If people have such great “spontaneous, heartfelt love of babies”, then may I suggest that a great many number of American babies live in abject neglect and poverty, and would greatly benefit from all this love if it only cared to extend itself beyond the uterus and into homes, day-care, schools and everywhere children are.
Whatever happened to extending resources to women to keep their pregnancies and the resulting child?
Why must poor, young women either be heartless murderers or generous incubators?
Where is the option of providing resources so these individuals can parent?
That being said, I wholeheartedly agree that abortion is most assuredly about not being pregnant as opposed to not being a parent. Women should have no more obligation to rent out their uteruses, provide biological support, and endure labor than the rest of us have an obligation to give up our “extra kidney” or bone marrow.
but we do have an obligation to provide these women support, medical care, and what ever else they want? This is the part of the argument I never grasp, no one has a right to tell a women what to do with her body but women do have a right to tell everyone else what they do with theirs? What if I don’t want to go to work today to earn money to pay taxes to fund her care? Why is that my obligation?
This is excellent. It would make an excellent brochure.
Is that a feasible idea? Permission and all that?
“They would rather force the government not just into their bedrooms, but all the way into their uteruses. How odd that, on a different day in Congress, some of these very same people might actually mouth a homily or two about the virtues of market forces, individual liberty, and limited government. They should be forced to wear a scarlet “H” – for hypocrisy – on all their clothing.”
I fully agree. Another excellent essay from Dr. Kleinke, whose essays I have read and admired in various publications for several years.
I might ask however on a separate topic what transpired during his involvement with Dossia starting sometime around 2005 or so to the end of his relationship with it and with Intel which has been a prime motivator of the project.